Hays Passes Bill Allowing Responsible Beverage Sampling for Licensed Employees

Apr 17, 2024
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Rep. Neil Hays, R-Checotah, secured passage of a bill that would allow employees at establishments that sell wine, beer, and liquor to sample the products if they are over 21.

Senate Bill 2001 defines "Straw Testing" as allowing licensed employees aged 21 or older to evaluate beverage quality responsibly through minimal alcohol consumption. It would also lower the registration fee for brand-label spirits from $375 to $75 for those producing less than 53 gallons a year.

"Restaurants were told they had been misinterpreting the law," Hays said. "As it stands, Oklahoma law does not allow servers to take a straw test sample of the drinks they are about to serve customers. The goal here is to clarify that language and allow these businesses to provide the level of service their customers have come to expect." 

Hays emphasized that SB2001 has defined regulations, such as on-premises sampling under licensee supervision, and emphasizes that alcohol tasting is voluntary, not obligatory, for employees.

Several lawmakers and industry stakeholders worked together to develop SB2001, which modernizes alcohol regulations and supports industry growth, Hays said.

SB2001 passed the House 69 – 20.

Oklahoma House of Representatives seal